The booze was flowing, the cigar smoke was curling, the steaks were hot and the hostesses in slinky gowns were out in force.
It was business as usual at the Washington Hilton’s grand ballroom at last Thursday’s Fight for Children Fight Night fundraiser, where a crowd of 1,800 mostly men in black ties puffed, ate and drank — and helped raise $2.2 million for children’s education. (A companion event for women, called Knock Out Abuse, raised $600,000).
“It was an incredible night, with tons of energy, and a fitting tribute to Joe,” said this year’s Fight Night chairman, Raul Fernandez, referring to longtime Fight Night chairman and philanthropist, Joe Robert, who passed away last December.
Fernandez’s table was at the center of a perfect storm of local businessmen, attorneys, investors, financiers and religious leaders.
The Fernandez table was sandwiched between tables hosted by Danaher founder Mitchell Rales, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ron Conway and Washington financier Mark Ein.
Other tables were hosted by Donatelli Development, the Leonsis Foundation and Under Armour, whose founder, Kevin Plank, is chairman of next year’s Fight Night.
There were plenty of boldfaced names from business, sports, academia and philanthropy, including former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, dealmaker/attorney George Stamas, former Redskin Ken Harvey, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business Dean David A. Thomas, Catholic Charities chief executive John Enzler and private equity bigwig Luis Medeiros, who won a $6,700 raffle and promptly gave it all back to the charity.
Washington Wizards partner Fred Schaufeld forked over $20,000 for a weekend at one of Steve Case’s Exclusive Resorts. Three “man’s day” packages at Academi’s security training camp reaped $120,000.
Local financier and George Washington University Board of Trustees Chairman Russ Ramsey stole the show with a $100,000 winning bid for a custom-made chopper motorcycle and two season tickets to Washington Nationals’ Lexus Club seats, behind home plate.
Ramsey is a baseball fan and former star player with GW, where he set a record for stolen bases.
“I knew Joe [Robert] was smiling from heaven, and he loved going to Nats games,” Ramsey said.